Team Mali – True Story

Team Mali – True Story
ArticlesBlog


[on the radio]… and in sports,Zaragoza will be hosting in the upcoming days
a group of young basketball talents.
Tomorrow, the under-17 World Cup
will start off in our city,
with 17 men’s teams and 16 women’s
fighting for victory.
For now, no one has been able
to unseat the United States,
who are once more the big favorites.Until July 3, Zaragoza will welcome
young people from all five continents.
[president of the Federation]
Africa has 53 countries,but the only ones here
out of all of them are us and Egypt.
The country is counting on you.Like the coach says…the most important thing isn’t winning,the most important thing
is giving it your all on the court.
Don’t rush, take your time,
let’s play the game our way, right!
There will be public against us.That’s OK.But, it’s normal for you to be nervous.You’ve played in front of people
lots of other times, in Bamako.
OK?So do your job!We’re here to support you.Listen to your coach, OK?Be calm and everything will go well.[players]
We’re for the fatherland, Mali!Hello, my name is
Adama Diarra.
I’m 17 years old.I play for the national team
and I wear the number 12.
My father died last year. I live with my mother,
and my aunt… plus her husband
and my little brothers and sisters. My father died… I had a tough time. Even in training,
I couldn’t train well anymore… thinking of my father… Because he suffered
during his illness. If I remember that,
it hurts me a great deal. But God is great. I’ve lived with my grandmother
since I was little. My mother went away
and left me with my grandmother. I live down there. I don’t go to school. I quit school because we’re poor. I work at home, I wash the clothes. I was 12
when my father died. He worked,
he was a carpenter. After his death,
life got very hard for us. Because without a father life didn’t
make sense for us here in Mali. If you don’t have a father,
no one cares about you and here and there, people say: “Hey, your father’s dead,
and I’m not your father.” I live with my mother. My mother’s the one
who takes care of us, four children. She doesn’t work anymore. It’s thanks to her brothers
and sisters that she can feed us. But really,
we’re living through tough times. There are days when you don’t know
how you’re going to get something to eat. But thank God, we’re alive. When I play basket,
that makes me forget a lot of things. When I play, it eases my mind. I forget the problems,
the difficulties… and the death of my father. I forget… I forget that, too. Basketball has helped me
a lot in life. Instead of turning to crime… I go to the court every afternoon,
we train, and we play. My name’s Harouna Sissoko. I’m 17 years old,
and I wear number 8. I didn’t think I would make it
to the national team, but it was my dream. I didn’t know fate would bring me here
to the national team, that I’d play in the Africa Cup, even…
that I’d qualify with Mali for the World Cup. I didn’t expect that.
God’s the one who did it. As far as basketball, there are
really enormous difficulties, because… the children we’re supervising often come
from very underprivileged environments. And what interests us today is the conditions
of these young women and young men… who bring happiness to the people of Mali. Because as soon as this fleeting happiness
passes, they go back to their instability.Blaise’s parents live
in the Ivory Coast.
He was illiterate when he arrived in Mali,
he didn’t know how to read or write. And… he lives on what you might call
a hill on the outskirts of Bamako, in Lasa… a place where they normally settle people
who are quarantined, for various illnesses, most recently Ebola. He was a laborer on a construction site,
he pushed the wheelbarrow. He was recruited there by a man
who noticed he was very tall. The man asked him:
“What do you do?” Blaise said:
“I work on this building site.” “I help lay the sand, I push the wheelbarrow,
and I get paid two euros a day.” “Two euros a day,”
the man said to him: “With your build, you could be
a good ball player.” We took him to
the basketball court. In 3 months,
he had mastered the ball. He signed up for a club
in the first division in Mali, he formed part of
the national team under 17, and he was co-champion of Africa
last year in Bamako. The girls have won tournaments,
you be strong, too… [woman]Now it’s the boys’ turn!I’m going to become
someone in basketball, that’s where I can make
something happen. I’m going to be someone
in basketball. Well, soon, if God wills it, I’d like… to go to the USA, to be in the NBA… to be a great basketball star. Like that would be better than in Mali.
Here in Mali, the means aren’t there. You can’t be a great player in Mali,
that’s for certain. You can’t be a great player. If you
want to be a pro, if you want to be great… you’ve got to leave Mali,
no doubt about it. Because the means aren’t there,
the conditions aren’t there. Aside from their performance, we should focus
on the education of these young people as well because it’s important to know how to play,
but also to have an intelligent mind, and to know what you want out of life. We have to guide them. Often you have more than
100 students in the same class. 100, 150 in the same class. Teaching can’t occur. It’s too many,
the headcount is simply too high… It’s too high for the teacher to take an interest
in the children there, to even be heard. [mother]You didn’t go to school today, either.
How many days have they been on strike?
– [player] 60 days.
– 60 days… So many? That’s a lot! – So you’re not going to do anything?
– No, we aren’t. Ah… You’re going to stay there? Huh? Yeah, because there’s a strike,
and no one’s going, no one’s studying. Everything’s stopped,
no one’s going to school. What are you going to do now, then? I guess we’re going to lose this year. Always with the strikes, always… [player] God will help us…And if you go,
if you act right and you play well… can you get… what’s it called…? – A scholarship.
– And… – A contract?
– A contract. You can’t sign a contract
when you’re 17. – Ah… But a scholarship you can.
– Yes. We’ll ask God to let you win
so you can get that scholarship. The majority of the children in Mali… don’t have the opportunity
to receive a school education, in a school where they are taught well. Very few have the chance to go to a school
where they can be properly educated. Unless the parents are educated… they believe that even buying a book
for their children is a waste of money. They prefer to save their money
for the festivities, to dress their child well… so he or she looks good in public. They’d rather do that
than buy a book for their child. These young girls above all,
but the young boys, too… even if they go to school, they don’t speak
French well, they don’t express themselves well, because they don’t have the time to concentrate
on their studies when they get home.All these children stretching out their hand,
“Give me something, a franc, five, ten francs”…
this is the moment for them
to learn a trade.
They should go to school,
learn.
They should learn a trade
or go to school.
But they don’t go to school
and they don’t learn a trade,
their trade is: “Give me something,
in the name of God.”
How many are there?
There’s thousands of kids like that.
And when they turn 20, 25,
what will they do? To pick up rifles, because
they can’t beg anymore.Extremism is expanding
at an exponential rate.
The fundamental cause of the recruitment
of young people is unemployment, poverty. A young person who has finished his
or her studies, who has a university degree, who can’t manage to find a job… is very likely to enlist
in one cause or another. At that moment,
they don’t look at the consequences, they just think about
what they can get out of it. And particularly if there is a bit of
religious discourse there, they’ll think this was sent by God, that it’s not just a matter of
financial gains here but also gains in the world beyond.In an illiterate environment…in an environment where…the people are not educated…and in an environment
of corruption and bad governance… Then…
people naturally fall very quickly… into religious ignorance. Geographically Mali is situated
in an area… very easy to access from…
the north through the borders we share
with a number of countries. And southern Mali lies on
the Sahel-Saharan border region… where it is subject to
incursions as well. In a way,
that is what accelerates… the appearance of this plague
in our country. Now, today, it must be said, we are
at the very heart of violent extremism. In the north of Mali, a series of
populations has always lived together. Some were nomads,
cattle herders above all, like the Peul, the Tuaregs,
the Arabs, etc., and… they lived in relative harmony
with the sedentary populations which were mainly agricultural,
specially the Sonrhaïs. When there were conflicts,
they were always resolved at the local level. But after colonization by the French,
there was a series of mutations in the society. From the first moment of colonization,
the establishment of borders, or setting administrative limits to the movement
of these transhumant populations, that have always moved with their camel caravans
through the desert, the Sahara, the Sahel, etc… created problems, and even then,
there were already rebellions. The Tuaregs, the Arabs,
who have taken up arms, they are our brothers, we have always lived with them in peace and calm. A peaceful coexistence. We’ve depended on each other
economically. The sedentary groups, they’re farmers,
the Arabs are great traders… and the Tuaregs also have their talents. And well, we’ve lived together… and had good relations
of peaceful coexistence. After independence,
the problems get worse. In 1960,
Mali becomes independent and this independence was pushed for
by intellectual elites from the south. The Tuaregs feel pushed out of power, out of
that power-sharing arrangement, from the start. These populations, little educated, have a very
different vision of the world and of geography. For them, the series of borders
doesn’t exist and suddenly the administrative
and territorial limits cause problems. Above all in the conflict zone to the north, past Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal,
what you have is poverty. These are places, you have to say,
that are… …where poverty is even high
compared to other parts of Mali. The impact on the ground is, if you were to go
to these areas, you’d see that nothing is done. Those who run things are in Bamako,
they spend and they invest in Bamako. And so for every 100 francs, for example,
that should go to the north… there are just 10 that go to the north. The other 90 francs are spent in Bamako. It’s a complete injustice. These rebellions start taking place
over the course of the years. In ‘68 there’s a coup and it creates a difficult and
impoverished situation for the whole country. There is a series of policies of structural
adjustment that create great poverty… but in the north,
it’s made worse by the drought. Climate change has had
drastic effects in the Sahel zone. This whole series of
rebellions and repression… …started against
the government but later it was accentuated
among the different populations, creating a climate of distrust
that soon gave way to hate. I turned 18 before the rebels came. I was in school, my last year studying language and literature. In 2011, in October of 2011, that was when the re…
when the armed bandits came to my town. All at once, the situation changed. So I was obliged… to go with my younger siblings… and take refuge… in another city, in the capital,
actually, in Bamako, to be able to take my exams. This crisis in the north has
a peculiar overtone… due to the arrival of the terrorists. There is AQMI, Ansar Dine, Boko Haram, MUJAO… There are many armed groups that have left other countries
and have come to join the others… Everyone knows the intimate relationship
between the deceased Libyan president, Gaddafi, and the armed groups,
the Tuaregs from the north. So, now that Gaddafi is dead, now… they have taken all the arms from there
and then they’ve come back into Mali. My name is Fadima Soumaré,
I come from Kidal. I’m 28 years old,
I play basketball. Before the rebel groups arrived, I… I was working in a transport company
called Adagh Voyage. But after the rebels came,
there were so many changes. To start with, at my job. In particular, they told me I couldn’t sit
with my coworkers who were men, and older. There was another problem
with the company. Before leaving, you’d board…
you’d put the passengers in the buses and they told us to separate
the men from the women, to put up curtains because
men and women shouldn’t mix. You were always expecting bombs,
even in the center of the city. The children were walking around
with weapons, the old people, too. They came into the city
and started shooting. They chased us out of school, while they burned our library. And they made us follow their shariah,
by force, whether you wanted to or not. They told the men to roll up
their pants they shouldn’t go past the ankle. And they told the women
to cover up entirely from their face
all the way to their feet. They started an awareness campaign,
telling us they were here… they were the ones
who ran the place… the state didn’t exist… and either you joined them
or you left the town. They had no power except their weapons,
and they go to the surrounding villages and take the 12- or 13-year-old kids
and give them weapons. When they came, it was easier to see
a child or a teenager carrying a gun… than a basket or soccer ball.France has always had relations
and accords with Mali.
There are 6,000 French citizens living there,
they have to be protected, apart from… geopolitical, strategic,
economic interests, not only in Mali,
but in the entire region. France depends on the uranium mines
located in Niger, not in Mali. But it’s true that this situation with
the Tuareg revolts is similar in both countries, and that these jihadi groups
are now setting down roots there… can make things really complicated. There are natural resources
in the north. Everyone has their eyes
on these resources in the north. Everyone has their eye
on them. So how do you reach them? People use any means
to reach them… to be able to exploit
these resources in the north. Even for those who want
to exploit Mali’s natural resources… do you really need violence… …to negotiate that? African countries are very generous. They don’t have the means
to exploit them. There’s no need to take up arms
with the Tuareg groups or the Arabs… to benefit from the exploitation
of these resources.At the Bamako BallBall of BamakoAt the Bamako BallI feel you under my skinDizzy in the cityMe, the stupid white owl of a manDressed in a boubou, clumsyRather fragileAs if my fingers are in a plugseeing you dance electrifies meIt may seduce me tooPerhaps I idealize youMischief in the Mali of wondersThe God of Mali lit the fireMali dances in my soulShame on those who think
that the color of your skin matters
Blessed are those who dance in Malito the rhythms of BamakoAt the Bamako BallBall of BamakoAt the Bamako BallI feel you under my skinTempo. Let’s do it!
Move the ball! There we go! Fast, fast, fast, fast! Yeah! These girls are always ready, they love basketball
despite the daily difficulties they face. There is a court
that you were able to visit, belonging to the Maison des Jeunes,
is available to us every day. Every afternoon, we have to sweep it
before we can train. The hoops aren’t necessarily
up to international standards so that causes some problems. Now, the kids are well equipped,
as far as shoes, for example, uniforms. As for medical care,
if there were regular checkups… All that could help us improve
the kids’ performance. Go, Sylvain, Sylvain! Ready? Come on, let’s do it! What did you do?
Guard that position! Fast, fast, fast!
Fast, fast, fast! Ay, ay, ay! OK. One, two, three, go! One, two, three… “One people, one goal, one faith.”
Together for the fatherland, Mali! My name is Jean Claude Sidibé,
I’m a lawyer in Bamako and President of the Malian
Basketball Federation. The situation of the country, with 3 years at war,
weighs heavily on the situation of basketball. We have serious difficulties. We just have one sponsor,
a big sponsor, a phone company called Orange. That’s the organization that sponsors us,
we get 200,000 euros a year. But that’s not really sufficient,
considering the work we do. Not counting regional competitions, Mali often qualifies
for the World Cup and the Africa Cup. That means that the volume of work we have to do
is greater than the resources at our disposal. So we also have some patrons,
some individuals, who help keep us on our feet. We are stuck with a single space, and that’s
where we do everything, shows, sports… All the sports happen there,
handball and even indoor soccer. But since it’s the state that decides
how the space is utilized… the federations’ have to request certain training
periods from the national sporting authorities. Well, we don’t have
gymnasiums. Here, even to run,
you have to… head for the hills, things like that. In developed countries, you go to the gym,
you do all of your training there, no problems. Here… you have the issue of climate,
our climate is very unfavorable. When the sun is out, it wears you out,
you get exhausted too fast, we get exhausted. Basically everyone
competes in closed arenas, where the climatic conditions
don’t have any kind of influence. The floors are parquet,
wood floors. But the players in Mali are
constantly training on cement… so, the possibility that they will suffer
some kind of soft tissue injury… increases exponentially. You can’t develop your game. In a word,
if you want to be a great player, you have to leave, because here in Mali,
there aren’t coaches with much experience. The coaches… The coaches’ level
is limited, if I may say that. The coaches’ level is limited. Here, we go into training camp
with 15 players and the entire training staff, that means the coach, two assistant
coaches, the trainer, which is me, a physical therapist, a doctor,
a representative, and a team leader. So with all this training staff,
we work together to… …to make sure the player is
in the best possible condition in all ways physiologically, with diet, with the technical
and tactical aspects on the court, so that, when
we’re at the World Cup… we can give it everything
in the best conditions possible. What we do here is to copy and follow
what is done in Europe. Up to now, we haven’t had the resources
you all have in your countries. They don’t exist for us. If you just put these kids in the same conditions
as an American team or a Spanish one has… you’d see the results. I’d put it this way: it’s not an injustice,
it’s the way God wants it. God made them
more developed than us. Here, we track them more exhaustively
than in some professional teams. During training players wear a GPS, and what we use is the triaxial accelerometer
to know the number of impacts and the load on the joints of a player. All the treatment we do and the training plans
are individualized for each player. The treatment we strive for,
and this is more or less the federation’s goal, is, so to speak…
to keep all the players pristine. [sister]The other day, you trained hard.
You looked tired.
[Nafatoumata]
We had a game that day, too.For this World Cup,
you’ve got to really prepare. You have to train a lot now to be in
the right condition to give it everything later. Now you’re going for the prelims…
How many days will you be there? How many? Eleven. – Before you go to Spain, right?
– Yeah. There won’t be Ramadan
on those days. – They don’t fast for Ramadan?
– No, they don’t. They can’t fast for Ramadan
during the game? Lots of people couldn’t hold out…
– It’s hard for them. Weak as I am,
if I fasted for Ramadan, too… Yeah, but they’ll feed her well
before she leaves. They’ll feed her well.My name is Mohamed Maiga.I… I’m 16 years old. I wear number 4. Here in Mali there are
lots of difficulties. Well… There’s not enough
to eat here, in Mali. In Mali we don’t have the means to train
or to buy sports equipment. Things are hard here. Here you eat beans in the evening.
In the morning, bread, milk. Some rice at midday, just rice. We just eat rice, with sauce. That’s what we eat here in Mali,
rice every afternoon, beans in the evening. My grandmother
sells charcoal. She also sells peanuts… to make a little money so… we can eat. In… my family… sometimes… we don’t have
enough money to eat, to eat well, you know. That’s how it is in my family. Sometimes… You’re supposed
to eat three times a day but sometimes we only eat two. In the afternoon, I eat rice.
In the evening, I eat rice, too. Rice is our food for the week,
we eat it every day. At a scientific level, one of the aspects
that guarantees that the player, both for recuperation from exertion
as well as to prepare for exertion, the nutritional component, this ingestion
of a specific quantity of carbohydrates… is key for optimal performance. Together with that goes
the vitamin and mineral content. In other words… the big nutritional deficit
these players suffer… means that they’re unable to show
what they’ve got on the court. They don’t have the gas
that a basketball player needs to compete. And this hidden face is the poverty
these players are playing through… the poverty they live in. But they don’t talk about the poverty. They just don’t talk about it, because…
once the ball’s out and the basket in front of them… they play and play
to bring people pleasure, to perform better,
to make a living with basketball.I’m Mariam Diabaté.I’m the captain
of the Mali youth team. I’m 17 years old
and I play number 16. At home it’s my mother… my little sister, my older sister,
my big brother, my uncle and my aunt and my cousin, too. For eight years, I’ve lived with my mother
in Bamako, with this family. The place is an inheritance from my father,
he left it to us when he died eight years ago. I cried, and even now
I can’t manage to understand that loss. I thought it was a bad dream. Often I would sit down and say to myself,
he’s going to come back, but he never came. Basketball has brought me
a feeling of physical wellbeing. It frees me a lot, and a lot of times,
when I play, I forget what’s happened to me. We were playing against Nigeria
in the finals. At the end of the game,
when the referee whistled, I went… and I couldn’t believe it.
I said to myself… I have to be champion of Africa. Because the generation before us said: “If you don’t come back with the Africa Cup,
we’ll never forgive you. “Because ever since the AfroBasket
started, Mali has had it. That’s why you have to win.” When they gave us the medals,
we felt proud, especially when we got to the hotel. The President of the Federation was there,
and the President of the Republic, too they said some things to congratulate us,
and we really liked that. The memories I have of
that championship… the end of the final… they whistled, the game was over. I cried, everyone cried with me,
because I said: “My mother… “My mother did everything so I could be
here, so I could participate. “And I promised my mother: If God wills,
we’re going to bring back the trophy. And we got the trophy!” That day, I… I stopped to think of my mother… and I cried, everyone cried with me. Yeah. Nafatoumata Haidara was there. When we took the trophy,
she hugged me and said to me: “Oh, Mami! “Today Mama’s problems disappear,
I’ve turned into a daughter to be proud of. Now I’ll have money and I’ll be able
to take care of my mother’s needs.” These few words she said to me
made me cry throughout the final. I didn’t know she was going
to say that to me. I wasn’t going to cry, but…
when she came, when she told me that… I did, right away. For me, basketball has been a joy,
because thanks to basketball… I can bring money to my family. and my mother is happy, because… when I play, I get paid
and I can help my mother. It’s thanks to basketball
that I can have money now. Thanks to basketball I have
a motorbike… all this other stuff, even a TV. It’s thanks to basketball
that I have all that. When you bring home money, everyone says,
even your father’s brother is going to say: “Hey! That’s my girl. That’s my girl.” But if you don’t bring any money in,
they don’t even consider you a person. Come on, Wade! Let’s go! Come on, Kourouma, Kourouma! Attack! Keep coming, keep coming.
Attack! Run, run! It’s over. She couldn’t make it. – Come on! Go, girls!
– Come on, that’s your problem! There are people who think
sports aren’t for women. Some of them find out you’re an athlete
and then they don’t like you anymore. Because they think you don’t act right. The basketball players
go through a lot. They often insult us. In the stadium, you can hear people
insulting their family members. You can’t imagine
what they put up with. Now, in Mali, women’s basketball
is the most advanced. – Really?
– Yeah. The girls are the ones
who win trophies. We knew that there were people
who forbade us to be close to men or to dress differently. We knew they wouldn’t even let us
enter the area, the stadium. So all at once, the idea of playing
basketball was over because you already knew in advance
it would be impossible. I think if a woman plays
basketball now… first, they’ll ask you
if your parents are there, if your father is there. First, they’ll blame them
for letting you play. They’ll even go so far as to beat your parents
for letting their daughter go play basketball. I didn’t have problems because my father
encouraged me to play basketball himself. He could see that one day
I would become a basketball player, that I would bring him happiness. I didn’t have problems, but… my neighbors say: “You’re worthless.” “All you wear is shorts,
that’s not right for a woman!” When they see me wearing shorts,
they say: “Why do you do sports?” “You’re a woman…” “You’ll have a house and a family
to take care of one day.” “You don’t need to be wearing shorts so the men can ogle you.” Even here, if you wear shorts… they will tell you
that you’ll never get married. “You’ll never get married.” “You won’t find a man who wants
to marry you just because you wear shorts.” Marriage is given too much value. Because parents, many parents,
will tell their daughter… even if she doesn’t get
her diploma, it’s not a big deal, she’ll find a man to feed her, a man to take care of her. And so from a young age,
this gets said to the kids, to the girls, and it gets stuck in their heads. So the girl really does believe
that marriage is a way to get ahead in life. In Malian society, people don’t
understand a girl playing basketball. They think your body’s going to change or that you’ll turn lesbian or start acting like a boy. Islam recommends
that a woman be covered to avoid temptations, to avoid Satan, and so men don’t view you as… as a sexual object. The interests of these religious
groups are not the same. Some are for
Islam plain and simple others may be for spreading
a message of peace or tolerance but others may be there for reasons… that are not too… not so normal, if you will. When you think God
can solve everything… that you can put everything on God,
and God will solve everything… If you just wait,
you become easy prey. Anybody can do
whatever they want with you. That’s why today, so many young
people are with the Islamist. They pick up rifles because they’ve been told
that’s how they can build their future… and they’re going to paradise
and God will protect them. A certain number
of religious leaders try to or… get mixed up in political affairs, and, if you ask me,
I think that’s not a good thing. And it goes without saying
that they’re an undisputed force in Mali. Are you coming to our room? [cameraman]No, you go!
Afterwards, I’ll come over.
Let’s go! – We can’t let you in.
– Their room is a mess. – [cameraman]Yeah, that’s why.
– Yes. – Our pretty house.
– Mami, come! Yes, it’s our house. [cameraman]
Have a seat there…Yes, take a sit. [cameraman]That is our friend
here to pay a visit…
It’s incredible, my boy! [cameraman]
That’s Dan- Danté.Danté the joy! We’re getting ready for the World Cup. We have to go tomorrow, God willing,
at one in the morning. We need your blessing.
If God wills it, we’ll bring home the trophy. It’s a headache, right! – Really?
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yep! We’re going to Spain… …to bring back the trophy.
– If God wills it! We’re going to bring the trophy here, to Mali,
and we’ll be the blessed children. – That’s it, right?
– Yeah, that’s it. – Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow!
– Yeah, that’s us! We’re assuming in two weeks’ time
they’ll be able to put on a bit of weight because as you can see, the effort
they’re putting in is enormous. Training morning and night. If the kids don’t have anything to eat,
it’s terribly hard. I’m a lucky president,
I can take charge of my team.For them it’s huge, because for a month,
they get a balanced diet, which they need,
and eat three times a day.There are doctors tracking them,
making sure they don’t have parasites
and taking care of their vaccinations.And they sleep in a hotel
or in a climate-controlled bedroom. The state does its best, but there’s another part
that I as the president take charge of because if I don’t, the kids won’t be
in their best shape for the World Cup. Uncle, I’m here to receive your blessing
and something to protect me because I’m going to the World Cup. The will of Allah
is like an obligation for me. With God’s permission… our wishes will be fulfilled. [player]You’ve got to have fun.
You’re all so quiet…
Ok, ok.
– No problem.
My dream is
to be an architect… architect and, at the same time,
to dedicate myself to basketball, to play on teams outside of Mali and more than anything, to take care of
my mother, who fought a lot for me. I’m going to try and shine
at the World Cup to help myself
and also to help my country. My only dream is
to be a great player, a world player… for all the world… …to recognize me. To be popular. That’s my dream with basketball. Well, when I’m champion… the first thing I’lI think about is my father,
I’ll dedicate it to my father may he rest in peace. These kids believe in themselves, they believe in their country, and for this moment,
they are ambassadors of their country, and being ambassadors… they should be recognized by the state,
and the state should put at their disposal… the necessary means to continue to bring
pleasure to this country, which has come so far. We’ll do everything we can
to reach the best finish possible. Even capture the World Cup,
if God wills it, if God gives us the strength. We’re going to play with all our heart, for all of Africa. [Team anthem] Here we go, here we go, here we go! One, two, three… “One people, one goal, one faith.”
Together for the fatherland, Mali! It’s Africa that won today, not Mali.
We are very proud to be African. It’s a question of willpower, because… for this kids, sport is the only thing
that can help them reach their goals. So, with willpower, with… uh… the thirst to win… these kids can work miracles. Everything’s against us. If you want to be someone… God has to give you the chance
to get out of Mali. That’s for certain. With the crisis that’s happened in Mali,
with the jihadis in Mali today… winning an Africa Cup,
Co-champions in their category… they’re the only people today
bringing pleasure to Mali’s people. Just thinking about them
there hurts us. We’re going to play for all of them,
we’re going to play… even knowing
that there’s a war on here. We’re not shooting to be the world champions,
not for the moment, but we’re aiming
for an honorable finish, to rise to a position that makes us
dignified representatives of Africa and Mali. [president of the Federation]
… but we’re going to continue.Anyway, for me, I’m very, very happy
with today’s game. Because I saw twelve girls on the court
who wanted to be there. They kept us from an opportunity,
just one. Understand?
Just one though. But… If we fight tomorrow… if we fight the day after tomorrow,
if we fight the day after that… I’m sure we can show up
in Bamako with our heads high. Heads high, OK? Beating Brazil wasn’t a given. Beating Argentina wasn’t a given…
It was complicated. We surprised Brazil,
we played our game, we did it. Spain didn’t humiliate us,
they beat us but they didn’t humiliate us. Portugal beat us by a hair, by a hair. That really stung. Today…
can we really say we lost? Did we lose? I don’t see that we lost. They won, but us,
we didn’t lose anything. Because the game you played today,
since you’ve been here, today’s game is the one
that’s our game. You moved the ball,
you hustled. This is what we looked for, the coach and me,
we were telling you after the game. You cried, but I was happy.

4 thoughts on “Team Mali – True Story

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